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  • Writer's pictureEdoardo Porcelli

Market study of the Irish Market for a new physical sales strategy in the Jewelry industry

The research project carried out for my final thesis aims to consider the jewelry market to analyze the characteristics that certain consumer segments seek in the purchasing process and how these may align with the Irish brand under analysis, Póg. The global jewelry market is currently divided into three main regions. Among these, we find the Asia-Pacific region, which dominates the sector in terms of revenue. The main markets in this region are the Indian market and the Chinese market, which are the largest markets globally in terms of revenue. Following in terms of importance, we have the American region with a revenue of approximately sixty billion dollars in 2022. This region is characterized by high diamond consumption in its two main markets, Canada and the United States. Finally, the last macro-region is Europe, characterized by a multitude of medium-small-sized markets, leading to a total revenue of approximately 33 billion dollars in 2022.

Among these smaller markets, the Irish market stands out as the reference market for the jewelry brand Póg, which was the focus of the research work conducted. Póg was born from the idea of Irish designer Melissa Curry with the aim of creating a modern symbol of love and friendship. The jewelry collections, made with the finest materials, meet all consumer needs and the new trends that have emerged in the jewelry sector in recent years.

The unisex and inclusive jewelry is characterized by a minimal design suitable for all needs and with low environmental impact. Since its inception, Póg has developed a significant corporate social responsibility (CSR), both in terms of environmental impact by eliminating plastic from its products, and in terms of social impact by supporting the foundation Jigsaw, which focuses on youth mental health. In the past year, Melissa Curry and her team set the goal of developing a new physical sales strategy characterized using fully automated machines that will replace the traditional model based on physical stores.

This innovative system will result in significant cost reductions for the brand while providing a fast and intuitive purchasing experience for consumers.

The figure presents an initial prototype of the distributors that will be used. These distributors are characterized by a display screen that allows viewing and selecting products, an intuitive payment system, and a product retrieval compartment positioned in the center of the machine, enabling easy retrieval for all types of consumers. The first machines will be installed at Dublin Airport and the Irish museum EPIC by the end of 2023, with plans for subsequent expansion to major European airports in the next two years, as well as a partnership with Virgin Voyage, which will lead to the installation of distributors on Virgin cruise ships.

The research project developed on the jewelry brand is based on three main points: the analysis of the current market positioning and future prospects, the identification of consumer preferences through a questionnaire, and the use of the Multidimensional Scaling algorithm to compare and analyze the identified characteristics with those presented by the brand. The term "positioning" refers to the space occupied by a brand in people's minds, which is defined by the characteristics and uniqueness that differentiate it from the competition. Currently, Póg targets consumers in the 18-24 and over 65 age groups due to its communication strategy focused entirely on social networks and the company's website.

The goal for the future is to expand its consumer base to include the currently untapped 25-65 age group using more traditional and target-appropriate communication channels. The quantitative questionnaire, designed to investigate the characteristics sought by jewelry consumers, was structured into four main areas:

  • Purchasing habits, including the type of jewelry purchased, average purchase price, purpose, frequency, and place of purchase (online or physical stores).

  • Desired characteristics previously identified through qualitative interviews and subsequently evaluated by respondents using a ten-point Likert scale.

  • The third section included questions about the propensity to purchase from automated distributors and the preferred locations for making purchases through this system. Figure 1, Self-service vending machine prototype

  • Personal questions, such as gender, age, profession, and annual income.

The questionnaire was administered to a sample of 93 respondents, with 86% of them falling between the ages of 25 and 64. Interviews were conducted face-to-face on the main streets of Dublin and through publication in specialized jewelry sector Facebook groups.

Finally, the Multidimensional Scaling algorithm was used to group the investigated attributes among consumers into four different clusters, each composed of elements that showed significant distance between them. Approximately 75% of the investigated characteristics among the interviewees align with the vision and values of the Póg brand, making it appealing to the currently untapped consumer segment. To increase awareness among the target audience aged 25-64, the Irish designer and her team have designed a new communication strategy based on the use of newspapers and magazines to complement the existing strategy.

Furthermore, a large-scale advertising campaign is planned at Terminal 1 of Dublin Airport to accompany the installation of the first automated distributor, scheduled for the end of 2023. Through the research project, it was possible to analyze a non-statistical sample of consumers, which helped identify the characteristics sought when purchasing jewelry and which of these align with the brand's values and attributes. Based on the results obtained, the Póg team has partially been able to develop new strategies that will, in the short term, expand its user base by modifying or adding elements demanded by the studied consumer segment.

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